Nano SDRs Comparison Update

cyoung, 09 March 2018

Much hasn’t changed since the this comparison was made about a year ago.

The only real new product since then has been the NESDR Nano 3. It features a new “nano” sized SDR covered with thermal pads on both sides and inside a custom aluminum enclosure. Since the previous NESDR Nano series had serious issues with heat dissipation, I figured it would be instructive to do the same noise floor tests as before and see how it responds.

rtl_power -f 24M:1.7G:1M -g 50 -i 15m -1 nf-nesdr_nano3.csv

Here are the results.

Here’s a summary of what I found:

  1. The aluminum enclosure gets pretty hot–seems hot enough to burn.
  2. Nano 3 has a lower noise floor than the Low Power v2 from 24 MHz - 110 MHz, then above 890 MHz (except for noise spurs). It was surprising to see the Nano 3 have issues in the 120 MHz-890 MHz range.
  3. Low Power v2 has less (and less harsh) noise spurs above 900 MHz.
  4. Despite better heat dissipation, the Nano 3 still had issues at 1.5 GHz+.
  5. The generic nano SDR is still the low-noise winner.